When Opposites Attract… Clutter

Whether you find yourself attached, dating or happily single this season, everyone will admit that opposites sometimes do attract. No two people are exactly alike, and as much as they might have in common, they may differ substantially in a couple of areas.

Astrological horoscopes promise to match people based on the broad tendencies ascribed to one’s star sign or the alignment of the planets at birth, while dating services and mobile apps use questionnaires and algorithms to come up with a range of compatible singles.

But what if you and your significant other (or roommate, or family member) differ in terms of #cleanliness and #clutter? And what if we’re not just talking The Odd Couple? What if one of you is Marie Kondo, and the other should be on A&E’s Hoarders?

If there’s no conflict, there’s no problem. Your relationship is probably healthy in other areas, and you likely make up for, or complement each other’s skills and shortcomings. You may already take on different household tasks according to affinity.

But if your other’s clutter causes you to clash, you must tackle the problem head-on. The first rule is to communicate, says Refined Rooms. Ask yourself why the clutter frustrates you or makes life more difficult, and tell them.

#Decluttering is a teachable skill, so consider hiring a professional #organizer to show you how to get a start on getting that stuff in check. Finally, learn to compromise on acceptable levels of clutter or create clutter-free zones in your home.

If, on the other hand, you are the cluttering partner, consider the formative influences that may have made you that way. Are you are ready to let them go or work through them, and actively manage your stuff in order to create a more harmonious home?

ClothingDonations.org can help with a donation pickup whenever you and a partner are ready to get rid of some of the disused and unwanted things in your home. In reselling the extra stuff to benefit veterans, we can also contribute to our donors’ happy relationships.

But “Trying to force anyone — your partner, your roommate, even yourself — to change completely is futile,” The Cut says. “A better strategy is to work together to set realistic boundaries and expectations — a process that starts with each side examining their own motivations for feeling the way they do about clutter.”

Have a happy, healthy and #clutterfree Valentine’s Day!

Don’t Stress About Cleaning — Streamline Instead

Lots of people put off their household cleaning tasks because there are other, more fun things they could be doing. Chores are the work you do voluntarily, and they are often more fun to see completed than they are to do.

With busy schedules, it’s hard to find the time to clean, much less the motivation. But believe it or not, if you can make starting those chores less of an issue, completing them will come more easily.

You may find that cleaning is less of a burden if you put individual tasks on a schedule. This “makes sure that everything that needs cleaning gets cleaned,” Lifehacker says, [and] makes sure that you never tackle too much at one time and get overwhelmed.”

Another strategy is to clean in short bursts every day so that it seems like a routine part of the day rather than an exceptional burden. Dedicate 15-30 minutes to cleaning something — anything — every day, and eventually, everything will be spotless.

To prepare, assemble a complete selection of cleaning supplies for various areas of the home, along with sponges, rags, mops and other implements. Then put on some music or a podcast and begin, and cleaning will happen almost on autopilot.

Once you get into a rhythm, you may find you spend lots of your time moving stacks of papers, dusty knick-knacks and other stuff around in order to clean. That’s #clutter, and if you can get rid of it, household cleaning will become less strenuous.

Eliminate some of that clutter as you clean. Box important papers and put them in storage. Get rid of some tchotchkes you don’t really want to look at (or dust) every day. Fold the laundry, and set aside anything that no longer fits. Bag the castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Without having to work around all that extra junk, cleaning will become easier. Sans clutter, many areas of the home will take less time to clean, and you’ll get more done in the time that you can dedicate to such chores.

When you see the results, you’ll no longer have the stress that a cluttered, messy and dirty home can produce. And knowing that a few minutes every day can leave your home consistently clean and tidy, you may even start to enjoy the chores!

Controlling Santa’s Christmas Clutter

After all of the shopping, cooking and party planning, Christmas is finally here. It’s time to tear into those gifts and feast on your favorite foods. But along with all of this bounty, Santa (and probably Amazon, too) has delivered a lot of packaging, wrap and other detritus that you’ll want to keep in check as you celebrate the season.

First, you’ll want to have a garbage bag or bin near the tree to collect all of the gift wrap that’s torn-into at this year’s gift unveiling. Americans consume about 4 million pounds of gift wrap every year, or about 333 million square feet — enough to cover more than 5,000 football fields! Collect and recycle it quickly as it gets shred and tossed aside to keep your home clean.

Shopping for all of those gifts undoubtedly produced a lot of empty, utilitarian boxes and bags. If you’re hosting, keep a few of these handy for people to put their new things in to take home after the Christmas party, and recycle the rest. Integrating new stuff is difficult enough; getting it to where it ultimately needs to go shouldn’t be a hassle, too.

The larger the group, the more work prepping and cleaning up from a meal will be. Don’t be shy about assigning tasks before you serve the big feast so that it’s clear who will be setting the table, wrangling the kids, clearing the table, and washing and drying the dishes, flatware and pots and pans. Cut the chaos before it starts!

When you’re done with the holiday, be sure to pack anything you want to keep for next year sensibly, I Love My Disorganized Life says. Purge ornaments you don’t like as you pack them, box your artificial tree with all of its accessories, and — if you’re feeling really ambitious — post printed packing lists on the exterior of all storage boxes.

“When you head into the post-Christmas cleanup with a plan, it is much easier to tackle the mess head-on,” the blog says. “Making sure you are systematic and organized doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time now, and the payoff when you can easily find everything next year is worth it!”

If you find lightly-used holiday decorations that you don’t use or want as you purge, set them aside in a separate donation box and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup so that they might bring others joy in the years to come. Your donation will also bring innumerable gifts to the nation’s veterans all year long. Happy Holidays from The Organizing Blog and ClothingDonations.org!

Kick off Decluttering in Time for Football

Even though the temperatures may still be muggy outside, the Labor Day holiday marks the symbolic end of summer break. Now complete, the kids are back in school throughout the country and the leaves will soon be starting to turn in the northern climes. Fall is on the way.

Also synonymous with fall is the start of the football season. When the players hit the gridiron in earnest, it’s time to hole up indoors in front of the TV — or bundle up at the stadium — and root for your favorite team. But you may still be ill-equipped to have people over for game day.

For one thing, your home may be too cluttered to entertain in, even in the most casual beer-and-chips kind of way. The answer is to gather up all of that extra stuff that’s lying around and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. Once clear of clutter, you can have people over without having them trip over your old junk.

With summer nearing its end, you can get rid of the T-shirts and shorts that didn’t get worn, and store or toss those bathing suits and pool toys. And once you start to get those fall sweaters and coats out of storage, you may find a few things that you know you won’t be wearing in the seasons ahead. Get rid of them now, before they can take up valuable closet space.

You may need some fan gear to cheer on your favorite team or teams. Thrift stores supplied by donations to ClothingDonations.org can be a good source of lightly used jerseys advertising your team preference, as well as housewares to help you welcome gametime guests. Thrifts can also be a good source of cold-weather gear that you’ll start to need in the next few weeks.

Think of clutter as the opposing team — the immovable object that you must continuously advance against to score a “win” on the playing field of your home. Unless you are a football player yourself, outdoor activities will be less of an option as the weather gets cooler, so the time to start reclaiming your space — yard by yard — is now.

Give Up Clutter for Good

Just a week ago, New Orleans revelers celebrated Mardi Gras, tossing some 25 million pounds of beads. The following day—Ash Wednesday—marked the beginning of Lent, the annual religious observance that asks Christians to engage in six weeks of penance or self-denial by giving something up.

Whether or not you’re a regular churchgoer, there’s one way to give things up that will reward you immediately, even as you help others: Pledge to give up clutter during Lent—and maybe for good—by cleaning out your old clothing, housewares and other unused goods and calling ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Clutter not only gets in your way, it clutters and confuses the mind. “Like used plastic shopping bags stuck on the branches of a riverbank tree, our clutter poisons our view and enjoyment of the objects that we do need and want and use,” says green living expert Annie B. Bond.

Her “8 Easy Steps to No More Clutter” begin with a thorough sorting exercise. Arrange your stuff into five categories: “Essential” things you need every day; “Favorites” such as photos, jewelry, and souvenirs; “Other people’s stuff” that winds up in your space; and “Annoying” or “Downright gross” items like junk mail and dirty laundry.

Start with the gross, she says, and sort out the simply annoying. Return other peoples’ stuff and find places for your favorites. Finally, put all of your essentials in places you can access and use them. Anything that still doesn’t have a home when you’re finished is clutter—and you can throw it away or donate it.

This is a comprehensive approach to spring cleaning, to be sure, but with almost five more weeks of Lent, you’ll have time to give something up and still do the virtuous work of helping others. When you donate the stuff that clutters up your house, the proceeds go toward programs that help feed, house and thank the nation’s veterans for their service.

There’s never a bad time to give up clutter, but you, your family and the nation’s veterans will all be better off once you do. So start today—you’ll be happy you did!